It’s summer time, and with summer comes dips in the pool, beach days, and soaking up the sun. It is the time of year where we long to be outside, basking in the sun’s rays and not cooped up indoors for any reason. This includes our workout goals… Who wants to spend their beautiful summer days cooped up indoors with a bunch of sweaty people breathing recycled air and surrounded by artificial light? Not me, that I know for sure!
Since we moved into the new house I have come to not only love but pretty much live in the pool… That’s right, this house came with a nice sized above ground pool. Now I know that there is the obvious ‘go swim laps’ for your cardio workout, but why draw the line there? Whether you are looking at a community pool, your own backyard, or have access to a lake area to swim, here are 8 great ways to burn some calories, tone up your body and enjoy the summer months all at the same time!
The Bicycle: An exercise that is often done on a gym mat, however, the resistance created by the water as well as the additional effort required to keep you from floating away adds another element to this old favourite! Rest your elbows either on the edge of the pool or on a pool noodle and proceed to move your feet as though you are peddling a bicycle in the same way that you would if you were laying on the ground. This will work your core, shoulders, and legs all in one!
Jumping Jacks: Another exercise standard, doing your jumping jacks in the pool adds the additional resistance of the water to your leg movements, plus you will have to actively fight your natural buoyancy which will make it more difficult to keep from tipping forwards or backward. You can even go a step further and do a half-suspended jumping jack where your feet aren’t allowed to touch the bottom when they come together or in the centre, or for those looking for a real burn do a fully suspended jumping jack where your feet never touch the bottom!
Jogging in Place: Much like with the jumping jacks, the addition of water resistance will take an otherwise routine exercise up a level. Want to make this one even harder? Try kicking your knees up even higher, forcing your legs to fight the water resistance even more!
Ladder Pull Up: If you have either a ladder or railing on your pool, or on a dock if you are in the lake, this is a great way to get an arm workout in. Using only your arms, grasp the railing or ladder and pull yourself up out of the water. Lower yourself back down and repeat as many times as desired. If you change your grip this will work different muscles, for example, if you are in a pull-up position you will work your back, lats and shoulders, however, if you place your hands in a chin-up position (palms facing you) then you will be working your biceps.
Frog Jump: To start this exercise you will need to be in what is known as ‘plie position’. This means that you are going to stand with your heels together, knees bent pointing outwards and your butt tucked in under your body. Jump as high as you can out of the water, returning to this same stance as you land. The deeper you are in the water when starting, the greater resistance this will entail. This is a great exercise to work both your quads and your butt! Do a number of these jumps in a row with no rest in between in order to feel a real burn.
Squat Jump: Doing a squat in the pool is a challenge to begin with, however adding in a jump will take this even further. To work your arms at the same time you will need a pool noodle. Squat down, keeping proper squat posture (once again, fighting that natural buoyancy). Taking the pool noodle in both hands push it down as you can without losing your posture, then raise it back up to your chest again. Jump as high as you can raising the pool noodle up over your head. Repeat as often as desired. I also found it was fun to substitute the pool noodle for a small inflatable beach ball. There is an extra degree of effort required to push the beach ball down into the water!
Flutter Kick: One of the better-known pool workouts, this can be done while holding onto the edge of the pool, a paddle board or a pool noodle. Extend your feet out behind you and begin to kick them rapidly. You can go the easier and more fun route, splashing everyone that may be around you, or for added resistance keep your legs fully submerged in the water. The goal is to move your legs faster, not hire, fighting against the water resistance.
Pool Noodle Crunch: Take your pool noodle and place it under your shoulders, looping around your back. Laying on your back in the pool, pull your abs in and then perform a crunch as if you were up on dry land. This will not only work the muscles regularly worked doing a crunch, but you will also have to work even harder to stabilize your body both vertically and horizontally working a whole list of additional muscles.
This is only the start of a much more in-depth workout routine that I have been putting to work this summer. I love that I have the opportunity to stay cool, enjoy the summer days, make the most of what my backyard has to offer without going anywhere and staying on track with my fitness goals all at the same time! Give these workouts a try and see if you feel the burn as you’re climbing back out of the pool or lake at the end of your next workout! I like to treat myself with some time afterward in the floatie with a big bottle of cold lemon infused water!
What efforts are you making to keep working towards your fitness goals this summer? Have you ever tried working out in a pool, or taking a water aerobics class before? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section!